This report begins when Deb emailed me on Saturday night to say that he couldn't play cricket because he has to finish his thesis, but Mandar would play for us instead. When we duly gathered at Manny Road the next day there was no sign of Mandar, although someone said they'd just run into Deb in town showing a mate around the Oxford drinking establishments. So half a man down, we then had to wait while Bumby went to fetch the directions to our ground in Witney. Once we arrived in Witney with no further problems we found a sunbaked looking outfield with an inconsistent looking wicket. Winning the toss (again) I backed our strong bowling attack to do the business with the new ball. By now Mandar rolled up saying he'd heard there was a cricket game somewhere in Oxfordshire which was a man short and had followed his nose. He'd probably just heard Jez and Bumby offering me their prematch advice. The cricket opened up with one of the finest spells of swing bowling from Mike Price that I have ever seen grace the club. Completely unplayable he was also sadly too good to get an edge and ended up bowling 7 overs for 8 runs and no wickets. The 'time game' meant the opposition were happy to bat very slowly and the resemblance to test cricket was remarkable. Meanwhile Bumby lumbered under the responsibility of opening the bowling felt unable to bowl his usual wicket taking pies and went unrewarded. Excellent banter was maintained, even with the absence of Q and Wenderoth. It was the introduction of Mandar that changed the game, however, striking twice with his stump breaking rockets to take the heart out of the oppo. I came in to take my customary three wickets when I saw they'd sent a couple of kids in to bat (helped by Bumby's sledging) while Pete continued his rapid rise through the ranks by taking two wickets including the main prize of their stubborn opening bat. After that Isaac, Tom, Jamie Wood and Matt all bowled well to leave only Jez without the two overs he needed to top the averages. 126 all out. An absolutely fantastic tea left us all ready for a sleep and Benson primed for a monster dump. So Mike and Charles headed out and put on an 30 run opening partnership before Charles was scuppered blazing one too many times. Jez came and went to be followed by Matt, who decided to disappear at drinks and was eventually found in the toilets eating cakes he'd stashed at tea. He was nearly as angry at being found out as he was at himself when he got caught skying one straight up in the air. Isaac and Pete made their batting debuts to close in on the victory after Mike retired on fifty. 128/5 and victory off 34 overs. The fines administered by Matt were:
Bumby x2 £1.00
Jez for the comment, "Great bowling that was just like a banana....just not yellow", £0.50.
Mike for looking after his average and retiring at 50, £0.50.
Charles skipping over the ball as an opening batsman and being a dirty old man eg ignored the team in the pub to flip through the calendar of naked ladies on the wall and then as an excuse for leaving the pub explained that his mrs "would be hungry for it", £1.00.
Isaac managing to use the bat with a busted edge in a match and then edging it! £0.50.
Bumby, kiddie sledging £0.50 And from Jason: "I'm fining Benson just for giving me the mental image of him taking a dump - that'll be £1, thanks mate."